Category: Popular Fiction

The Top 5 Most Incredible ‘Game of Thrones’ Battles

To celebrate the premiere of Game of Thrones’s first episode, let’s turn our eyes to the past. While Game of Thrones is known for layered characters, political intrigue, and unexpected deaths, its no doubt the series has some kickass action scenes too. Its eye for spectacle has only grown since the show’s early days, creating massive battle scenes that normally would be reserved for an epic movie like Lord of the RingsHere are (in our opinion) the top five best ones!

 

5. daenerys attacks the Lannisters 

 

A dragon flies low over a battlefield, roasting soldiers with its flaming breath

Image Via Vulture

This attack came out of nowhere, both for the audience and the characters. Following House Lannister’s victory over the Tyrells, the Lannister caravan, led by Jamie and Bronn were returning home with loot they had taken from Highgarden. That’s when the ambush happened: Dothraki forces charged over the grasslands, attacking the Lannister caravan en masse. Then Daenerys herself descended on the back of her dragon, Drogon, and unleashed Hell on the soldiers below. The terrifying results of a dragon attack are realized first hand, as the action follows Bronn stumbling through the flaming wreckage of the attack, stumbling past his fellow soldiers burning alive in a scene of complete chaos and frenzy. Only Bronn managed to shoot Drogon with a lucky shot drives the dragon off, but no before Jamie charges the dragon with spear in hand, a badass moment even if he doesn’t succeed and nearly drowns for his troubles.

 

4. The Massacre of Hardhome 

 

Jon Snow prepares to cross swords with an undead White Walker

Image Via Winter is Coming

The moment where Game of Thrones truly showcased the threat of the White Walkers, the undead army descended upon the fishing village of Hardhome in force. As the Night King watched like some sort of dark god from the cliffs above, the wights were unleashed upon the village, overwhelming the wildlings and slaughtering everything in sight. Filmed as chaotically as possible, the sequence captured the unstoppable nature of the enemy first hand and allowed Jon to duel a White Walker one on one amidst the frenzy. And of course, the unforgettable image of the Night King raising all the villagers he’d just killed as zombified servants in the battle’s aftermath will forever linger in our minds.

 

3. Battle of Castle Black

 

Jon Snow faces off against wildling attackers amidst the flaming assault on a castle

Image Via The Daily Beast

This one was one for the books. A battle so huge and massive an entire episode was devoted to showcasing it in all its glory, the Battle of Castle Black featured the wildlings assault the Wall, facing off against the badly outmatched forces of the Night’s Watch. Crowd pleasing moments were flowing from the episode: giant mammoths! A huge scythe bursting from the Wall to sweep off wildling climbers! The death of Ygritte! And of course, the epic tracking shot that followed all the major characters through the battle, showcasing their individual struggles amidst the madness. This one is pure excitement and features some of the best action the show has ever had.

 

2. The Battle of the Bastards

 

Jon Snow sits amidst a pile of corpses as he struggles to break free

Image Via Hollywood Reporter

The showdown with Ramsay Snow was built up off over multiple seasons, with the audience growing more and more desperate to see the evil man meet his end. And the Battle of the Bastards did not disappoint. Jon Snow leads his forces against Ramsay’s own to retake Winterfell from House Bolton and the action kicked off from there. The visual component truly captures the frantic combat of a battle scene, with Jon stumbling around the battlefield, swiping madly at opponents as horses charge, men die, and the entire scene turns into a blur. At one point, Bolton forces trap his army and as the bodies pile up, Jon Snow is nearly buried in an avalanche of corpses. This leads to the crowd cheering moment when Sansa arrives to save him, leading to the routing of Bolton forces back to Winterfell and Jon finally beating the utter crap out of Ramsay. The aftermath of the battle was even sweeter: watching Sansa take revenge on Ramsay and allowing the sadistic villain to be eaten alive by his own dogs.

 

1. The Battle of Blackwater

 

Image Via Bustle

The first of Game of Throne’s epic battle scenes and ultimately, still the best. Pitting Stannis Baratheon against the Lannisters, our sympathy and focus ultimately goes to Tyrion, whose trying to defend his home despite the machinations of his relatives. The battle featured one of the most iconic moments of the series, where Bronn, at Tyrion’s orders, ignites wildfire in the bay and blows almost all of Stannis’s fleet to Hell. Of course, the battle isn’t over yet, Stannis leading the reminders of his forces onto the beach and laying siege to the keep. He almost gets inside too, but Tywin arrives at the last minute, saving King’s Landing and getting credit. But we all know Tyrion was the real hero of the day. Blackwater set the standard for what was to come but still holds up today and we’ll never forget the images and the tension it crafted.

What are your favorite Game of Thrones battles? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

Featured Image Via Game of Thrones Wiki 

Cersei, Tyrion, Jon, and Dany Game of Thrones

‘Game of Thrones’ Off to a Wild Start *Spoilers Ahead*

If you’re anything like me, you wasted your whole weekend watching recap videos of the first seven seasons of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. You probably also got lost in the maze of videos leading you to classics like Game of Thrones the Musical and other parodies. All of this, of course, in preparation for the premiere of the final season. If you have not yet sat down to watch the premiere, what are you waiting for? Call out sick. We’ll write you an absence letter for school. You got a final? Retake the class, that’s what summer semesters are for! We are talking about this right now.

 

Jon and Dany Riding into Winterfell

image via appocalypse

If you thought the first episode of this season would answer more questions than it raises, you clearly don’t know the show too well. The episode opens with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon (Kit Harrington) riding into Winterfell with Dothraki screamers, Unsullied armies, and, of course, Tyrion and Varys making jokes. For two years I have been waiting for the reunion of Jon and Arya, and now they were both back in Winterfell. This reunion, while touching, was not the most exciting part of the episode. We’ve got dragon riders and big reveals ahead!

 

Jon and Arya Reunion

IMAGE VIA TOO FAB

The moment everyone has been waiting for with bated breath was the moment Jon came to realize he is not Jon at all, but Aegon Targaryen, sixth of his name and true heir to the Iron Throne. This is not so spoilery as it seems, this was information given to us at the end of season seven, but Jon and his lover-aunt still don’t know. What was thrilling was watching Jon ride a dragon, a dragon named for his father, through the North with Daenerys. The two went zipping through trees, took nose dives down cliffs, and all the while Jon was holding on for dear life. As cute of a date as it was, it seemed even the dragons were not okay with this situation. Did you see Rhaegal giving Jon that face?

 

Jon Riding Rhaegal

image via vox

Before we get to the big reveal, I want to talk about all of the lovely and not-so-lovely reunions that happened last night. Sansa and Tyrion haven’t seen each other since Joffrey’s wedding and death, making the reunion quite awkward. Both of them still seem to hold each other in somewhat high regards, but the question that I need an answer to: are the two still married? Yes, Sansa did remarry an abusive monster because it was believed Tyrion was dead, so what happens now that he is alive? Jon and Bran finally reunite, but that is just a strange encounter altogether. In fact, Bran was probably the most dramatic element of the entire episode. Every time someone looked over a ledge or out a window, there was Bran “waiting for an old friend.” This leads me to best reunion of the show, the moment that doesn’t come until the very last minutes: Jamie Lannister coming face-to-face with the boy he shoved out a window in the very first episode. We’ll have to wait for next week to see how this interaction goes. We also can’t forget Theon’s rescue of his sister Yara, which was pretty awesome.

 

 

Theon and Yara Reunited

image via the live mirror

One more meeting we have to discuss is that between Dany and Samwell. If you remember back to season seven, Daenerys burned Sam’s father and brother alive after they refused to bend the knee to her and her cause. This makes for an awkward encounter when Dany has to reveal this, but it leads to a very special moment in the crypts of Winterfell between Sam and Jon. Sam must reveal what she did to his family, and Jon isn’t entirely sympathetic with Sam. When Sam reveals the truth of Jon’s lineage, however, Jon doesn’t know to believe it at first. Would the honorable Ned Stark lie to him for years? Well, apparently. There isn’t enough time to gauge his reaction to the news, and we won’t know how this changes the dynamic of Jon and Dany’s relationship.

 

Samwell Tarly

image via watchers on the wall

This leaves us with so much to expect for next week. Not only will we get to see Jamie and Bran reunite, we will see Dany face down the man who killed her father. Or have you forgotten that Jamie is still the King Slayer? It’s so easy to forget with all of the happy reunions that there is still a major war going on. Cersei’s got a fleet of tens of thousands of men that she plans on using to betray her brothers. She even has sell-sword Bronn out to kill them. I wonder if he will, considering he was always very loyal to the two. Then again, a sell-sword is loyal only to the highest bidder. An even bigger war is on the verge between the living and the dead, and we are supposedly just a few episodes away from the major battle of Winterfell.

 

Bran in the Courtyard of Winterfell

image via digital spy

At this point the only thing for sure is that there will be a lot to unpack in each and every one of these episodes, and they only get longer from here. We want to hear your thoughts and theories! Will Jon turn against his queen? Will Dany take revenge on Jamie? We will be here every Monday discussing each episode, so make sure you’re here to let us know what you think.

featured image via trendydose

8 Thrillers for Your Beach Bag This Summer

These eerie page-turners from debut and bestselling authors are sure-fire summer hits.

1. LAYOVER by David Bell

 

Publication Date: July 2nd

“In the hands of a master of suspense like Bell, a chance flirtation at an airport leads to a fast-paced novel filled with turbulence. Make sure your belt is fastened and enjoy! Bell is at his best.”—Kaira Rouda, USA Today bestselling author of Best Day Ever

In this high concept psychological suspense novel from USA Today bestselling author David Bell, a chance meeting—and passionate kiss—with a beautiful woman in an airport sends a man on a pulse-pounding quest for the truth.

2. GIRLS LIKE US by Cristina Alger

 

Publication Date: July 2nd

Girls Like Us is something special: A beautiful, deeply textured novel and a poignant, surprising mystery. I loved it, every chapter and every word. I’m going to be thinking about it as a reader, a father, and a storyteller for a long, long time.”—Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant

Girls Like Us is Cristina Alger’s best book yet. Worlds collide when an FBI agent investigates a string of grisly murders on Long Island that raises the impossible question: What happens when the primary suspect is your father?

3. LOCK EVERY DOOR by Riley Sager

 

Publication Date: July 2nd

Lock Every Door is a gem: Fast-paced, crisp writing, stellar character development. Riley Sager’s best book yet!”
—Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of In Her Bones

A young woman has a new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings…but it may cost more than it pays. Super eerie, this heart-pounding thriller from Riley Sager is sure to be another bestseller.

4. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

 

Publication Date: July 30th

“High wire tension from the first moment to the last. Four ruthless people locked in a deadly game where victory means survival. Gripping and unforgettable!” ―Harlan Coben

Four young Wall Street rising stars discover the price of ambition when an escape room challenge turns into a lethal game of revenge in this gripping debut from Megan Goldin. In the lucrative world of finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are at the top of their game. They’ve mastered the art of the deal and celebrate their success lavishly―but a life of extreme luxury always comes at a cost.

5. Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Publication Date: July 2nd

“Exciting and sprinkled with razor-sharp insights about what it is to be a woman today, Whisper Network is a witty and timely story that will make you cheer for sisterhood.”
―Liv Constantine, USA Today bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

“If only you had listened to us,” they tell us on page one, “none of this would have happened.”

Sloane and her colleagues’ decision to take a stand against an inappropriate boss sets in motion a catastrophic shift in the office. Lies are uncovered, and secrets exposed. And not everyone will survive. All of their lives―as women, colleagues, mothers, wives, friends, even adversaries―will change dramatically as a result.

6. The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley

 

Publication Date: June 11th

“Marissa Stapley’s writing is a gift.”—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

As a deadly tropical storm descends on the Mayan Riviera coast, trapping the hosts and the guests on the resort, secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested and not one single person—or their marriage—will remain unchanged by what follows.

7. A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

 

\Publication Date: July 23rd

“Fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn meet your next obsession.” ―BuzzFeed

Michele Campbell’s edge-of-your seat story of passion and intrigue will keep you guessing until the very end. Caroline Stark’s beach house was supposed to showcase what she thought was her perfect family. But after a very public fight with her husband, she realizes things may not be as perfect as they seem: her husband is lying to her, the money is disappearing, and there’s a stranger on the beach outside her house.

8. THOSE PEOPLE by Louise Candlish

 

Publication Date: June 11th

“[A] disturbing novel of domestic suspense. With a structure reminiscent of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies…A nicely paced, wryly intelligent novel with sharp insights into human behavior.”—Kirkus Reviews

In Louise Candlish’s startling domestic suspense novel set in a suburban neighborhood poses the question: “Could your neighbor make you angry enough to kill?” Lowland Way is the epitome of the suburban dream. Every house and yard is carefully maintained for maximum curb appeal, and everyone knows one another and gets along. When Darren and Jodie move in, the neighborhood changes for the worse. An all-out war is brewing on Lowland Way, and when someone is killed, accusations start flying.

A precarious stack of books. Too many? Certainly not

Why I Love Having Too Many Books Despite Its Inconveniences

I’m an avid reader, and the only time I read is when I take the train. I live in New York, so the train is like my mobile home, and finishing books is not an issue for me. As for my real house, my bedroom… you could say that it’s slowly becoming the book haven of my dreams—like the kind that has a bed, drawers, clothes, and essentials for every day, while I pick one book at a time from my stack of books. I say a stack of books rather than a shelf full of books because I, unfortunately, have not yet acquired a bookshelf, but it is becoming more and more of a priority. Out of necessity. The mountain of books is getting higher and higher to the point that it’s now just a centimeter away from touching my ceiling.

 

image via EDIS RUNE

 

And yet, I cannot help but to buy more books. My unexpected book trips to Barnes and Noble tell my wallet no but my heart yes. (That’s what the New York Public Library is for although I prefer buying.) As the typical millennial that I am, I order mostly online on Amazon. I love watching my stack of books grow like I am watering a plant as it blooms to a tall flower, and you cannot help but think sometimes you might have to cut some of the vines to make some room.

 

Image via thewalrus.ca (PHOTO: erhui1979)

 

At times, I do get frustrated when I don’t have space in my bedroom for my bag, my makeup box, or other personal belongings. I made a self-compromising decision that I would place all these items in the living room instead. It’s not the most terrible thing in the world, of course, yet I couldn’t help but question just how far am I willing to go to buy and collect more books. I know what you must be thinking: “stop buying books then? or give some of the books you read or don’t want anymore to someone who will appreciate it more?” I would argue that a real book lover would not give up their books that easily, regardless of their feelings towards even the books they’ve left untouched—people’s taste in literature changes over time, and I don’t want any book among my collection to be the ‘one that got away.’

 

image via independent.co.uk (photo: Poetry is good for the soul ( iStock )

 

I’ve read about half the books in my collection. A lot of these books like White Teeth, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoIn Cold Blood and many others are from back in my English major days. I never liked to rent books because I see books as something that is not for borrowing, not something you can put a deadline on. Stories, works of fiction, poetry, are captured in a place of timelessness—and reading a book is what you put into it. Getting the full experience and to truly appreciate the book means not having to worry about time waiting by the door, fumbling its fingers with impatience. That is also why I cannot rent books at the library, but I still support them with donations, and you should too!

 

image via usishield.com

 

When family, friends, or boyfriends come into my room, the first point of eye contact is my books, looking down at us, questioning us if we would like to read one of them. Some of my loved ones challenge me as to why I keep the books I read or unread, or books I just completely lost interest in. I wouldn’t say I am a complete monster. I let people borrow my books; HOWEVER, I need a guaranteed return. I know all of a sudden I sound like a librarian, but I won’t charge late fees. Of course, I will send receipts of the promises you made that you would return them, like text messages, emails, all that good stuff. Now the most important questions of all, do I want to be a book hoarder? No, I don’t, and then people ask, what’s the point of keeping the books since spring cleaning is right around the corner? Why not make room for things that are possibly a bit more important?

 

image via nowtoronto.com (photo: tanja tiziana)

 

I hope it doesn’t sound crazy to say that I am enjoying this problem. I enjoy it because I don’t have to solve it, and it’s not a problem, at least for me. The way I see it, when you finish reading a book, you can’t help but have this feeling of a sense of accomplishment, regardless if you enjoyed the story or not. It feels fantastic to finish a book because of your commitment, consistency, persistence, and dedication, all realized. It’s not like writing where you have something to show what you did; you can only talk about it. But if you keep a collection of books and share your gallery of works, written by your favorite authors, in whom you have invested time—then that becomes your published work. It’s also important to note how seeing a small mountain of books can strike inspiration for people to become better readers or writers. My nine-year-old niece (a notorious non-reader) saw how protective of my small book fortress I am and FINALLY changed her perspective. Now, she’s obsessed with the Captain Underpants series and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My books are not her taste (as she is, as we established, nine), but I think my books are like the fine wine that I love to sip while reading them.

 

image via longroom.com

 

I know I may be Marie Kondo’s nightmare, but that’s okay, as long as I am living my dream. Inside The Bell Jar of my world, and book in hand, I will continue to live my best life.

 

featured image via Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
'GoT' Showrunners, looking completely unperturbed

‘Game of Thrones’ Showrunners Nervous About Ending

And they should be.

Endings suck—especially when it comes to the conclusion of stories we love/loved. Sometimes stories are ruined by their less-than-spectacular final act. We read them for days and watch them for years as their inevitable finales approach, hoping our favorite characters go out in an appropriately cliché blaze of glory or meet a romantically tragic end. In a weird way, our favorite books, movies, and shows become a huge part of our lives—our own personal (REAL) narratives framing that of popular protagonists and their worlds. So, naturally, we fall in love with all of the underdogs, chosen ones, and antiheroes we spend time with. Maybe we even project unrealistic expectations onto the endings of their stories because we are afraid our own stories may not end so perfectly—however, let’s not think ourselves into an existential crisis.

 

Image result for ron swanson gif point

Image Via Gifer.com

 

But yeah, often, our expectations are not met. The epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was… a tonal shift? The Giver tapers off into ambiguity. Pennywise is a demon spider? WTF. Let’s not even discuss the endings to The Hunger Games Trilogy or the plethora of television shows that broke our hearts; yeah, I’m talking to you, How I Met Your Mother (Ted and Robin? Still?), The Sopranos, Dexter, and Lost. I suppose not every series can bow out as brilliantly as Breaking Bad. Well done W.W.

 

Image result for Walter White ending

Image Via Independent.co.uk

 

As we prepare for the Game of Thrones finale, based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (duh), the healthy thing to do is lower our expectations. If we do not, we risk the kind of dejection that will threaten every aspect of our lives as we re-watch/re-read the story wondering where it all went wrong. Making peace with inevitable disappointment will be beneficial for our hearts, souls, and more importantly—the well-being of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The showrunners of GoT will be frantically chain-smoking and stress eating upon finale night as they continuously check the interweb for words of praise or admonishment.

 

Image Via Deviantart.com by 1oshuart

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss talked with Entertainment Weekly regarding the final season of their show and any concerns they may have for its ending (among other things):

 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So here you are. The final season. How is it? Are you happy?

DAVID BENIOFF: It’s still too early to say.

DAN WEISS: It could end up being a complete mess.

 

David Benioff went on to further discuss the subject of endings… perhaps to avoid discussing the ending that looms?

“A good story isn’t a good story if you have a bad ending,” he said, a sentiment which we hope not to dismally remember later as a sign of foreshadowing. “Of course, we worry.”

He also didn’t think The Sopranos ending was that bad…

I’ve gotten into a lot of arguments with people about why that was a great ending, but people felt legitimately cheated and that’s their right to feel that way, just as it’s my right to feel like they’re idiots. I’m hoping we get the ‘Breaking Bad’ [finale] argument where it’s like, ‘Is that an A or an A+?’ I want that to be the argument. I just wish we found better directors for it.

The final season will air its last premiere episode this Sunday. Will Jon Snow defeat the Night King? Will Dany sit on the Iron Throne? Will their baby? Will Gendry? Buckle up… but don’t drive too fast (metaphorically?) We don’t know where this road ends up, and we don’t know if we’ll like it.

Closing musing: if the final season sucks, George R.R. Martin can (and most likely will) build a better conclusion in his forthcoming novels The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. Perhaps this was the big guy’s plan all along—take his ending (which he has divulged to David and Dan) for a test run. All hail our Westerosi world builder.

 

Image Via Digitaltrends.com

 

Enjoy the lobster, my friend, you deserve it.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Starwarsunderworld.com